Today is the day NASA sets aside to remember those who gave their lives in pursuit of our dreams to explore above and beyond the surface of our planet.
- January 27, 1967 - the Apollo 1 space capsule was engulfed in flames during a pre-launch test.
- January 28, 1986 - the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded less than a minute and a half after launch.
- February 1, 2003 - the Space Shuttle Columbia broke up upon re-entry.
While I wasn't alive during the Apollo program, I am old enough to remember exactly where I was during both the Challenger and Columbia disasters. They both affected me deeply.
I have been in love with the Universe for as long as I can remember. I'm pretty sure it was a done deal when I first saw the moon in the night sky. My mom can attest to that. Be it movie, book, or museum, I devoured all things space related. And while I've come out the other side of my astronaut phase (for various reasons), I would still gladly sit on top of a rocket, no matter what the risks, to have the chance to touch the stars. And I know each of the astronauts who lost their lives in these disasters felt the same.
So I'm glad NASA has established this day of remembrance to honor both the sacrifice that comes with exploration and the dreams that drive us to explore in the first place. Ad astra per aspera.
-- Summer Ash is the in-house astrophysicist for TRMS.